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'Beaten With Electric Batons for Not Meeting Cyber Fraud Targets': Indian Held Hostage in Myanmar Recalls Horror

By: News Desk

Edited By: Pritha Mallick

News18.com

Last Updated: October 07, 2022, 22:30 IST

New Delhi, India

The PoE and the MEA had earlier said 32 IT professionals who were lured into a scamming racket in the name of a lucrative job were rescued from Myanmar (Image: Shutterstock)

The PoE and the MEA had earlier said 32 IT professionals who were lured into a scamming racket in the name of a lucrative job were rescued from Myanmar (Image: Shutterstock)

Even after rescue by the Myanmar authorities, they were taken into custody by Thai police after they were told to cross the border on their own without any food or water, he said

Electric shocks, without food or water, said Indian victims who were rescued from Myanmar’s Myawaddy area after falling prey to an international job racket while narrating their horrifying experience in their quest for survival.

C Stephen Wesley, one of the 13 victims who reached Tamil Nadu on October 5 told TOI, he got his freedom on August 15 after Myanmar Army officials rescued them from captivity where dozens were being kept hostage and forced into cybercrime activities.

Explaining the situation, he said he received an acceptance letter for a job in Thailand from a company after he gave an interview for it in Dubai. After flying to Bangkok, he along with some others were taken to Mae Sot, made to cross a river and taken to the Myawaddy area in southeastern Myanmar’s Kayin State.

With no passports and phones, they were forced into operating frauds related to cryptocurrency. Failing its target of connecting to at least 50 people a day, the “security" would punish the captives by beating them up with “electric shock batons," the 29-year-old said.

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Even after rescue by the Myanmar authorities, they were taken into custody by Thai police after they were told to cross the border on their own without any food or water, he said. Forced into staying at police custodies, human trafficking victim centres and other regions, people in jail took away their phones and would charge money for using them.

With joint efforts by Indian missions in Myanmar and Thailand, the Ministry of External Affairs have said people trapped in job rackets in Myanmar (50) and Cambodia (80) have been rescued. “Around 50 people have been rescued so far. We are trying to get back others too," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Friday, adding that the Centre does not have an exact figure on people captive in Myanmar. “We are in touch with many Indians there," he said at a press conference.

In an earlier statement on Wednesday, he had said that some more Indian citizens have been rescued from their hostages and are in the custody of Myanmar authorities. Legal formalities have been initiated for their return, he said.

The MEA has cautioned techies who were the targets of such fake job rackets in an advisory in September. “Instances of fake job rackets offering lucrative jobs to entice Indian youths for the posts of ‘Digital Sales and Marketing Executives’ in Thailand by dubious IT firms involved in the call-centre scam and crypto-currency fraud have come to our notice recently by our Missions in Bangkok and Myanmar. The target groups are IT skilled youth who are duped in the name of lucrative data entry jobs in Thailand through social media advertisements as well as by Dubai and India-based agents," read the MEA statement.

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first published:October 07, 2022, 22:18 IST
last updated:October 07, 2022, 22:30 IST